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Silo is Apple's answer to LOST – and one of the best TV series in ages
★★★★★ | A well, actually
In the age of streaming media, it's almost impossible to reach the kind of zeitgeist that series like LOST tapped into. Not because the shows are worse; culture has just changed. TV isn't as ubiquitous of a concept and not everyone subscribes to the same streaming services.
But more than that, most series come out all at once, resulting in a sort of TV tribalism. Those who binged everything; and those who have to avoid spoilers.
Silo feels like a return to that time in the best kind of way. It’s a smart, supremely confident sci-fi thriller that thrives on cliffhanger-driven episodes and a deftly constructed mythology, which unfolds at a deliberate, weekly pace.
It is the perfect water cooler series; the kind where you can’t wait to ask your friends what they thought of the most recent episode.
Set in the far future, where an unspecified global extinction event has driven humankind to the brink, the last ten thousand people on the planet survive in a self-sustaining silo, stretching a hundred levels underground. The old world remains a mystery, partly lost to time, and partly to intricate politics and fundamentalism that has festered for a thousand years.
In this world, the hierarchy of all things is what keeps the silo going. On the street level, the peace is upheld by a sheriff (David Oyelowo), who is trying to keep the remains of his life in order. But when a murder begins to unravel a complex web of lies, the fate of the silo suddenly rests in the hands of a reluctant engineer, Juliette (Rebecca Ferguson), who lives in the deepest depths of society.
Saying anything more would spoil the fun, and Silo is best experienced with as little extra knowledge as possible.
What makes the series so fun is its intricate sense of time and place. The world of the silo feels lived in, concrete, and real. There’s an understanding of how life here works, even as we only catch glimpses of it. It never explains too much, but also refuses to rely on contrivance to propel the story. Everything it reveals is teased much earlier, which makes repeat watches a joy – not to mention the kind of theories and conversations it will spark once the season gets going.
As the mystery at the heart of the series grows, so does the storytelling's scope. We’re always tied to the spiral staircase at the heart of the silo, but suddenly the expansive alleys, cramped halls, and clandestine nightly meetings become a part of the visual vocabulary. It never feels forced or sudden. Which is a testament to how well the series sets up its mythology.
When I first sat down with Silo, I binged it in just under three days. After that, I came back over a few weeks, letting the episodes breathe in between. It made for an even more rewarding experience. Every cliffhanger felt more intense, and every lingering moment between characters I grew to love that much richer. Like other classic series before it, Silo works because it’s a place you want to return to. Paradoxically, the closer the cast gets to solving the mystery, the more you want them to take their time. “Just a few more episodes” is a mantra I don’t think I’ve uttered in a long time.
Peppered with a fantastic cast of character actors, terrific directing, and the promise of a bigger future, Silo is one of my favorite new series in a long while. A rich dystopian fantasy that deserves all the praise it gets.
(Silo premieres on Apple TV+ on May 5th. Full series viewed for review.)
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